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Canzano: Going A-Z on the win (Oregon Ducks) and loss (Oregon State Beavers)

Posted in Trending Topics on 31st October 2016

Canzano: Going A-Z on the win (Oregon Ducks) and loss (Oregon State Beavers)

Oregon beat Arizona State 54-35. And Oregon State led Washington State by three scores when you went to bed… but lost 35-31 by the time you woke up.

No better time to open a can of A-Z on them…

A) My Sunday column focuses on the only question that matters right now at the University of Oregon: Can freshman QB Justin Herbert save coach Mark Helfrich? After blowing a 31-point lead vs. TCU in the Alamo Bowl, the PAT debacle vs. Nebraska, having 70 points pinned on his team by Washington… Helfrich’s future feels in the hands of a kid who was basically a fill-in scholarship offer. If you saw this coming you do not need to dress as a witch for Halloween. You are one.

B) Communicated with Oregon State coach Gary Andersen after the loss to Washington State. He is insanely proud of the way his team is fighting… and simultaneously aware that he needs to recruit better to win games against good teams. Talent and toughness end up a sobering dichotomy. One that Andersen will have to resolve to win big games.

C) The Beavers did it with smoke and mirrors in the first half vs. Washington State. It was a McGyver-like effort. Ryan Nall had 19 carries for 131 yards and two TDs on the ground. Ultimately though, WSU lined up in the second half and said, “You ca not throw. We all know it.”

D) The Cougars were right. OSU rushed for 160 yards on 15 carries in the first half, but had only 11 rushing yards on 13 carries in the second half. The Beavers are getting better, and better, but they have a shortage of talent/speed/length.

E) Ducks quarterback coach David Yost first saw Justin Herbert in person during a trip to a Sheldon High basketball game. Remember, Oregon only offered Herbert a scholarship after four-star recruit Seth Green (now at Minnesota) decommitted. Yost said of the 6-foot-6 Herbert, “He was a tall, smooth athlete. He had that same look on his face no matter what was happening in the game. And after the game it was, ‘Yessir. No sir. Thanks for coming.'”

F) No kid. Thank YOU for coming.

G) Arizona State was missing six starters and had eight players miss practice this week due to injuries. But a win is a win is a win. It had been 337 days between Pac 12 victories for the Oregon Ducks. The O’s Andrew Greif had the game story.

H) Oregon’s opponents in the first seven weeks of the season managed two combined victories this week. Washington beat Utah. WSU beat Oregon State. UC Davis and Colorado had bye weeks. The rest of the UO opponents went a combined 0-4.

I) Beavers wide receiver Jordan Villamin caught 43 passes for 660 yards and five touchdowns last season at Oregon State. He did not catch a pass on Saturday and now has 10 catches for 90 yards in eight games this season. The disappearance of Villamin feels like a “60 Minutes” investigative report.

J) Maybe put Ryan Nall on the case. After all, he appears to be doing everything else over there.

K) While we are solving mysteries… anyone who is closely watching Ducks running back Royce Freeman (bruised sternum after being trucked vs. Washington) knows something still is not right. Freeman (17 carries for 38 yards vs. ASU) looked more comfortable than a week ago, but was still not himself. Tyson Alger of The O caught up with Freeman after the game.

L) Nothing wrong with Alger’s game. His story included this gem quote from Freeman: “I am not stressing about it or anything. As long as anybody else in the running back room is eating, I am eating.”

M) Still, Oregon is not better with a less-than Freeman. Seven of his 17 carries went for zero yards or less.

N) Washington State has a ridiculous group of receivers led by Gabe Marks (8 catches for 110 yards and two TDs). That said, I like Colorado’s group of receivers better than Washington State’s. But barely.

O) WSU coach Mike Leach blew off the sideline reporter on the way to the locker room with his team trailing 24-6 at halftime against Oregon State. That elicited scoffing and criticism at Reser Stadium, but really, what’s the value of that halftime interview anyway? It is worthless. You never learn anything. It is rarely even entertaining. It amounts to a coach who does not want to do an interview saying nothing as he fulfills a contractual obligation negotiated by a couple of attorneys when the broadcast-rights deal was cut. I had be in favor of losing that interview in exchange for a 60-second fight between the opposing mascots.

P) Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott did a worthless interview at Autzen Stadium at halftime himself. I asked him the first question: What’s up with DirecTV? His response: “No new updates. Same as last week. Yup, not for lack of effort, our team is always reaching out and trying, but nothing new to report.”

Q) Scott bolted in the third quarter for Reser Stadium, beating the Ducks game traffic. He did a similar interview in the press box at halftime there with OSU and WSU media. It is part of Scott’s regular college football tour. He hits every Pac 12 home stadium at least once during the season. This was his Oregon swing. I doubt he will be back given that Oregon and Oregon State (a combined 5-11 overall and 2-8 in Pac 12 play) wo not be bowl bound.

R) The conference’s bowl alliances (Cactus, Las Vegas, Sun, Foster Farms, Holiday, Alamo and Rose) remain a sore subject. But one I hope is solved after the Pac 12 gets the DirecTV issue fixed, and also, stops playing games that finish close to midnight.

S) USC has played in a record 33 Rose Bowls. Question: Among Pac 12 members, do you know which team comes in second? See answer below in entry “U”.

T) National recruiting expert Greg Biggins (Fox Sports) talked about the Ducks issues with recruiting (Read: negative recruiting) and the Beavers new obsession with JC talent on my radio show (12-3p on 750-AM and 102.9-FM) last week. Fascinating perspective and worth a listen of the podcast.

U) Answer: Stanford. The Cardinal have 15 Rose Bowl appearances. Washington is next with 14. Then comes UCLA (12), Cal (8), Oregon (7), Washington State (4), Oregon State (3) and ASU (2). Colorado, Utah and Arizona have never played in “The Granddaddy of Them All.”

V) The Civil War will be the biggest game of the season for both Oregon and Oregon State for the first time in a long while. Who ya got?

W) This week’s Civil War Fact: Don Essig, the legendary public-address voice of Autzen Stadium, is an Oregon State graduate. Meanwhile, Mike Parker, the long-time Beavers play-by-play broadcaster, is an Oregon graduate. I have a fun interview with Essig slated to post this week on my YouTube channel.

X) Essig will celebrate 50 years on the Ducks’ mic next month. Oregon now has celebrity guests introduce the rosters, but Essig does the rest. My favorite part of the Essig interview came when I asked him how much longer he will continue to be “The Voice of Autzen Stadium.” His answer: “When it stops being fun.”

Y) Oregon State’s game took 3 hours, 49 minutes to play. Oregon’s took 3 hours, 36 minutes. When you are kicking off at 7:45 p.m. or 8 p.m., you are hosing everyone but the television networks.

Z) Oregon travels to USC next Saturday (Kickoff: TBA shortly) and is a 14-point underdog. Oregon State goes to Stanford (12:30 p.m. kickoff) and is a 16.5-point underdog.

— @JohnCanzanoBFT